It is hard to truly describe what it looks like, what it feels, what it smells like to walk through a busy neighbourhood of a city in war that has been bombed.
The conflicts may be vastly different and the combatants too. But across the battlegrounds I have covered the destruction so often looks and sounds the same: Body parts scattered amid ashen-grey concrete slabs folded on top of each other like they were melted. Wind whistling through the bleached ribs of the few structures that are still standing. The yawning craters layered with incongruous items that somehow made it through the bombardment, once in Gaza it was a kitten, once in Libya it was chicken. That smell of burning or bloated flesh.
And through the haze, the pain of the civilians, whose worlds were swallowed up by this rage of war, is so intense it is physically tangible. There are no words to say to grieving mothers and fathers, to orphaned children, to the injured left behind.
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In the villages, the towns, and the cities in conflicts across the world, it is always the normal people who suffer the most.
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Members of the Syrian Civil Defence, also known as the White Helmets, recover a wounded boy from the rubble of a building following a regime air strike on a vegetable market in Syria’s last major opposition bastion of Idlib
2/23
The regime air strikes killed at least nine civilians, striking bustling areas of Idlib city
3/23
An injured woman waits to receive treatment at a makeshift hospital
4/23
Syrian Civil Defence, also known as the White Helmets, searching through the rubble of a building
5/23
A Syrian boy is evacuated
6/23
7/23
8/23
A Syrian boy cries as he is evacuated
9/23
Rescuers search for survivors
10/23
11/23
A Syrian boy grimaces in pain after he was wounded in the airstrikes
12/23
A Syrian youth stands at the site of a regime air strike in Ariha town
13/23
Rescuers search for survivors under the rubble of a collapsed building
14/23
15/23
Firefighters try to extinguish flames
16/23
Emergency services look for survivors
17/23
18/23
A boy wounded in airstrikes is treated in a hospital
19/23
Syrian White Helmet civil defense workers extinguish a burning car
20/23
A Syrian walks on the rubble of a building
21/23
22/23
23/23
1/23
Members of the Syrian Civil Defence, also known as the White Helmets, recover a wounded boy from the rubble of a building following a regime air strike on a vegetable market in Syria’s last major opposition bastion of Idlib
2/23
The regime air strikes killed at least nine civilians, striking bustling areas of Idlib city
3/23
An injured woman waits to receive treatment at a makeshift hospital
4/23
Syrian Civil Defence, also known as the White Helmets, searching through the rubble of a building
5/23
A Syrian boy is evacuated
6/23
7/23
8/23
A Syrian boy cries as he is evacuated
9/23
Rescuers search for survivors
10/23
11/23
A Syrian boy grimaces in pain after he was wounded in the airstrikes
12/23
A Syrian youth stands at the site of a regime air strike in Ariha town
13/23
Rescuers search for survivors under the rubble of a collapsed building
14/23
15/23
Firefighters try to extinguish flames
16/23
Emergency services look for survivors
17/23
18/23
A boy wounded in airstrikes is treated in a hospital
19/23
Syrian White Helmet civil defense workers extinguish a burning car
20/23
A Syrian walks on the rubble of a building
21/23
22/23
23/23
In fact, the UK-based group Action on Armed Violence found recently that over the last eight years they have been monitoring conflict, 90 per cent of the casualties in populated areas caused by explosive weapons  by bombs are civilians.
According to their figures, this has killed nearly a quarter of a million civilians worldwide since 2011. That doesnt even begin to capture the totality of the damage done.
But this could change.
The bombs, rockets, shells, mortars that kill people and destroy their homes are of the kind that countries are banding together tomorrow to limit in cities, towns, and villages.
Dozens of states and civil society groups will attend a meeting on Monday, led by Ireland and Austria, in Geneva to hash out the language of an important political declaration on the use of explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas which could help stop this practice. 
British defence officials, who are expected to be there, are in a prime position to lead that discussion. And they should.
Political declarations, which arent legally binding, may sound a bit vague and pointless. Certainly, they arent going to fix the problem immediately. But, that said, they are the first step countries can take in committing to make a change. And that is something.
They can help clarify what constitutes legal conduct and establish bases for best practices and reform. The UK has already signed a similar political declaration on Safe Schools in 2018, in which it pledged to strengthen the protection of education and limit the use of school facilities from use during war.
Now they need to help write and sign this declaration.
There have been some positive murmurings. In a 2016 debate at the United Nations, the UK emphasised the need to limit the damage from explosive weapons in populated areas. It has consistently acknowledged the harm done by these weapons. It should carry this concern forward and support stronger language in Mondays discussions.
Human rights and humanitarian groups like Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Oxfam as part of the International Network on Explosive Weapons (INEW), have repeatedly called for the UK and others to ensure that this declaration is drafted and that it has certain core features.
In a report released on Thursday, HRW wrote about the devastation explosive weapons have had on neighbourhoods in countries like Ukraine, Libya, Gaza, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.
Ten years of research shows explosive weapons in populated areas maim and kill civilians, cause displacement and destroy critical civilian infrastructure, wrote Lama Fakih, HRW’s crisis and conflict director.
On Monday, states should develop a strong political declaration pledging to avoid their use.
At minimum, HRW says the UK should be prepared to demand that any future declaration does this, echoing an appeal by the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the UN secretary-general.
It should also urge states to provide assistance for those affected by explosive weapons use and collect data to help protect millions of vulnerable civilians at risk in future conflicts. Making these commitments couldnt be more urgent.
Millions are at risk right now in cities and towns where weapons like large bombs dropped from aircraft, large artillery, barrel bombs and multiple barrel rocket launchers rain explosives down over thousands of square metres.
Homes are often wrecked, schools frequently are torn apart, basic infrastructure like roads and water pipes, sewage and electricity are often damaged causing a domino of problems including epidemics and even in some cases famine.
Neighbourhoods are often left riddled with bombs that didnt go off, preventing families from trying to return or rebuild, destroying livelihoods and lives even if people survive the fighting.
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The use of these weapons is not confined to armed groups and so-called rogue states. While the UK has expressed concerns about the use of these weapons in populated areas, it too has deployed these weapons in cities and towns. In its fight to defeat Isis, thousands of munitions were dropped in Iraq and Syria.
And, even if we are to believe the dubious assertion by the Ministry of Defence that in all its strikes it only killed one civilian, the damage done to civilian infrastructure in the places where it operated with the US-led coalition remains. Mosul is making a slow recovery while Raqqa, a city destroyed by constant aerial and ground-launched weapons, is still in ruins.
After 10 years of bloodshed and devastation, states have finally put pen to paper to make a clear commitment to change the culture of use of these weapons. Now is the time for the UK to lead the way in shaping these commitments, paving the way for the increased protection of people everywhere who are caught in the crossfire.